Legislation Connection: March 28th thru 31st

Capitol Graphic
Don’t let the fast pace of the daily political drama keep you out of the loop! Check out our Legislation Connection, where we connect you to information about recent bills the House and Senate passed, legislation signed into law, and executive orders signed.

President’s Desk

Laws Signed

  • S. 305 – Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017

This bill includes National Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29, among those days on which the flag should especially be displayed.

  • H.R.1362 – To name the Department of Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in Pago Pago, American Samoa, the Faleomavaega Eni Fa’aua’a Hunkin VA Clinic
  • H.J.Res.42 – Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to drug testing of unemployment compensation applicants

This joint resolution nullifies the rule finalized by the Department of Labor on August 1, 2016, relating to establishing, for state unemployment compensation program purposes, occupations that regularly conduct drug testing.

  • S.J.Res.1 – A joint resolution approving the location of a memorial to commemorate and honor the members of the Armed Forces who served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield

Executive Orders Signed


House of Representatives

Bills Passed

  • S.J.Res.34 – A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services”
    • Sponsor: Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
    • Status: Sent to the President

This joint resolution nullifies the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission entitled “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services.” The rule published on December 2, 2016: (1) applies the customer privacy requirements of the Communications Act of 1934 to broadband Internet access service and other telecommunications services, (2) requires telecommunications carriers to inform customers about rights to opt in or opt out of the use or the sharing of their confidential information, (3) adopts data security and breach notification requirements, (4) prohibits broadband service offerings that are contingent on surrendering privacy rights, and (5) requires disclosures and affirmative consent when a broadband provider offers customers financial incentives in exchange for the provider’s right to use a customer’s confidential information.

  • H.R.1430 – HONEST Act

    • Sponsor: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
    • Status: Pass House, Will Go to Senate

This bill amends the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such action is the best available science, specifically identified, and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results. A covered action includes a risk, exposure, or hazard assessment, criteria document, standard, limitation, regulation, regulatory impact analysis, or guidance. Personally identifiable information, trade secrets, or commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential must be redacted prior to public availability.

  • H.R.1431 – EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017

    • Sponsor: Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
    • Status: Pass House, Will Go to Senate

This bill amends the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to revise the process of selecting members of the Science Advisory Board, guidelines for participation in board advisory activities, and terms of office. The board provides scientific advice to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This bill requires the board to independently provide that advice. Registered lobbyists may not be appointed to the board. Board members may not have current grants or contracts from the EPA and may not apply for them for three years following the end of their board term.

The EPA must provide draft risk or hazard assessments in its regulatory proposals and documents to the board. The board’s advice and comments must be included in the record regarding those proposals and published in the Federal Register.

The board’s member committees and investigative panels must operate in accordance with the membership, participation, and policy requirements contained in this bill, including new requirements for public participation in advisory activities of the board.

The board must: (1) strive to avoid making policy determinations or recommendations, (2) communicate uncertainties, (3) encourage dissenting members to make their views known, (4) conduct periodic reviews to ensure that its activities address the most important scientific issues affecting the EPA, and (5) respond to Congress fully and in a timely manner.

This bill may not be construed as supplanting the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act or the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Bills Up for Consideration Next Week

  • H.R.479 – North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act of 2017
  • H.Res.54 – Reaffirming the United States-Argentina partnership and recognizing Argentina’s economic reforms
  • H.Res.92 – Condemning North Korea’s development of multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles, and for other purposes
  • H.R.369 – To eliminate the sunset of the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes
  • H.R.1219 – Supporting America’s Innovators Act of 2017
  • H.R.1343 – Encouraging Employee Ownership Act of 2017
  • H.R.1304 – Self-Insurance Protection Act

Senate

Bills Passed

  • H.J.Res.67 – Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by qualified State political subdivisions for non-governmental employees

    • Sponsor: Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL)
    • Status: Passed House and Senate, to be sent to President

The rule amends a final regulation that describes how states may design and operate payroll deduction savings programs for private-sector employees, including programs that use automatic enrollment, without causing the states or private-sector employers to have established employee pension benefit plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 [ERISA]. The amendment expands the regulation beyond states to cover qualified state political subdivisions and their programs that otherwise comply with the regulation.

  • H.J.Res.43 – Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating to compliance with title X requirements by project recipients in selecting subrecipients

    • Sponsor: Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)
    • Status: Passed House and Senate, to be sent to President

This joint resolution nullifies a Department of Health and Human Services rule regarding subrecipients of family planning grants. (Under the rule, grant recipients may prohibit an entity from receiving a subaward only for reasons related to the entity’s ability to provide family planning services.)

Bills Up for Consideration Next Week

On the schedule for Monday, April 3rd:

  • S.89 – A bill to amend title 46, United States Code, to exempt old vessels that only operate within inland waterways from the fire-retardant materials requirement if the owners of such vessels make annual structural alterations to at least 10 percent of the areas of the vessels that are not constructed of fire-retardant materials and for other purposes

Krista Johnson

Krista's a freelance proofreader and writer with a focus on medical editing and teen story-based games. She also makes a few bucks with photography. When she's not working with words, she's spoiling her English bulldog and trying new things in the kitchen.

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